News around town spread like wildfire this afternoon after a report was published about Grammy Award-winning diva Patti LaBelle joining the cast of the hit Broadway musical 'Fela!'
According to the New York Post, the 'Lady Marmalade' singer will step in for Tony Award winner Lillias White in the role of mother Funmilayo Kuti while she takes a break for a series of concerts in Australia.
What's been reported is not necessarily true, the BV Newswire has learned.
"Patti LaBelle has come to the show and expressed interests," a production rep confirmed, adding, "there have been discussions and the producers are trying to work out something."
"But nothing has been worked out as of yet," the rep clarified.White, a vocal powerhouse who can sing at the drop of a dime -- and is considered one of Broadway's greatest black talents, reportedly makes a fortune overseas singing standards with internationally renowned symphony orchestras. It's work that pays far more than the union-stabilized wages of the theater world. The Brooklyn native is expected to hightail it down under during the month of September.
Meanwhile, LaBelle has concert dates already on the books during the month so producers may find themselves in a quandary.
When stars like LaBelle join Broadway shows, they've been known to shake up the box office. The L.A. run of 'Chicago,' which LaBelle appeared in, has made an industry of its celebrity stunt casting.
If all does work out, LaBelle will be returning to the Great White Way some 12 years after performing two weeks of concert specials in 'Patti LaBelle on Broadway.' Before she reinvented herself and hit the mainstream with 'Stir It Up' from the 'Beverly Hills Cop' soundtrack, she made her Broadway debut in the 1982 gospel musical 'Your Arms Too Short to Box with God.'
At 66, the Philadelphia native is a tireless performer and remains a sell-out concert draw around the country and within the Caribbean festival circuit.
Queries to LaBelle's camp went unanswered by deadline.